Do you remember having someone who believed in you? Someone who stood by you with support and candor? Being a mentor is being that person for someone else.
Self-indulgence is not the object of a mentoring partnership and humility is the quality to look for in a mentor. This levels the relationship and puts mentors and mentees on the path to shared discovery.
An impulse of new mentors is to help too much hinders the growth of the mentee. A little struggle is a good thing and a reality. Likewise, championing your mentee above others, creating artificial opportunities will build a shaky foundation for the mentee in the long run.
Realism, trust and truth are the cornerstones of the a solid mentor and mentee partnership. Looking at challenges and opportunities together in this way support reaching goals. A mentee reached out for guidance, support and candid feedback to facilitate positive growth. As a mentor, if you promote and praise less than stellar work; if you cannot be truthful with empathy and compassion, you do your mentee a huge disservice. They may step ahead and over others with this, but in the end the building blocks they missed will pull out like Jenga blocks that tip the structure over.
So, to do it right? Create a partnership with goals, trust and candor. Be the mentor who shares the path of self discovery and improvement both by teaching and by learning from your mentee. Be the one you remember who made the difference in your career. And pay it forward.